First author: U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Salinas, CA 93905; and second author: USDAARS, Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit, Fort Detrick, MD 21702
Polymerase chain reaction primers spanning the mitochondrially encoded coxI and II genes have been identified that were capable of amplifying target DNA from all 152 isolates of 31 species in the genus Phytophthora that were tested. Digestion of the amplicons with restriction enzymes generated species-specific restriction fragment length polymorphism banding profiles that were effective for isolate classification to a species level. Of the 24 species in which multiple isolates were examined, intraspecific polymorphisms were not observed for 16 species, while 5 species exhibited limited intraspecific polymorphism that could be explained by the addition/loss of a single restriction site. Intraspecific polymorphisms were observed for P. megakarya, P. megasperma, and P. syringae; however, these differences may be a reflection of the variation that exists in these species as reported in the literature. Although digestion with AluI alone could differentiate most species tested, single digests with a total of four restriction enzymes were used in this investigation to enhance the accuracy of the technique and minimize the effect of intraspecific variability on correct isolate identification. The use of the computer program BioNumerics simplified data analysis and identification of isolates. Successful template amplification was obtained with DNA recovered from hyphae using a boiling miniprep procedure, thereby reducing the time and materials needed for conducting this analysis.